Dayton Moore Costs the Royals More Season Tickets

Unknown Royals FanContributor ISeptember 4, 2009

BALTIMORE - JULY 30:  Manager Trey Hillman #22 of the Kansas City Royals looks on from the dugout against the Baltimore Orioles during MLB action at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 30, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Royals 7-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

At least I’m betting that will be the effect. I can’t imagine season ticket holders renewing very enthusiastically after reading this article from Bob Dutton:  http://www.kansascity.com/sports/royals/story/1423631.html

In it, Moore renews his faith in Trey Hillman while throwing various and sundry players under the bus for 2009’s debacle—all without noting that many of those players were his own acquisitions. In fact, just for giggles, let’s break down the article and GMDM’s words.

“Yes, Trey will be back,” Moore told The Star in an extended interview. “I think Trey has done an exceptional job under the circumstances. I think it’s important that Trey gets the opportunity to see this thing through.  My own curiosity is what “circumstances” he’s talking about. If the “circumstances” include being saddled with some terrible players after Moore gutted a cheap, effective bullpen in favor of an expensive and wildly ineffective one, he might have a point. But it gets better.

“I know things would have been drastically different if we would have stayed healthy, and I don’t think it’s fair to completely judge Trey’s performance based on what’s happened with the lack of wins with our major-league team.” Oh, bullshit. The players that have logged DL time were unproductive before the DL time. Coco Crisp never saw the good side of a .250 BA this year; Alex Gordon regressed badly from a marginal performance in 2007/08, and Jose Guillen has been an incredibly expensive Emil Brown since we got him. As for the injuries to Gil Meche and Joakim Soria, there’s a good argument to be made that Trey’s use of those pitchers caused the injuries. Blaming injuries is a weak excuse for weak people.

“In our immediate-gratification society,” he said, “everybody wants to point fingers. But from what I’ve seen from everything that goes on in this organization, Trey Hillman’s leadership is one of the strengths of our organization.  Uh, Dayton, there’s nothing “immediate” about this.  You were hired in 2006; that’s three years ago.  Our beloved Royals have sucked dead ass for nearly a quarter-century, and if you’re going to keep babbling to the press, you might consider respecting that fact.

The Royals enter play tonight with the league’s worst record at 51-82 and on pace for a fifth 100-loss season in eight years. They are 33-71 since that heady start.  Always nice to inject facts into the discussion. 33-71 equals a .317 winning percentage. At that rate, this team would have paced for 111 losses, beating our worst season by five losses. As it is, if the team continues at that rate (and there’s no reason to believe it won’t), the team projects to go 9-20 for the rest of the season and finish with 102 losses. And if I were betting and 102 were the line, I’d take the “over.”  This team has no competitiveness whatsoever. Oh well, next jewel.

“The biggest criticism that I’ve read that people have of Trey is he can’t manage our bullpen,” Moore said. “I’ll tell you, I’m not sure the greatest baseball mind in the history of the game could figure the right matchups on certain nights.  And I’ll clarify that by saying we have very talented relief pitchers in our bullpen who just haven’t performed up to their capabilities. To me, that’s no fault of Trey’s. That’s just a reflection of guys all having down years at the same time.”  Actually, if you look at our relief corps, most of them have performed exactly to their career lines. If GMDM were willing to condescend to look at a stat page, he’d know that. And of course, relief pitchers are notoriously unstable in their performance. 

Moore similarly absolves Hillman of any responsibility for pushing starting pitchers into higher pitch counts.

“I hear some of that stuff,” he said. “I should be blamed on that if anybody wants somebody to blame. I sat Trey and (pitching coach Bob McClure) down before the year and said I wanted these guys stretched out.

“Last year, I felt we were too conservative, that we didn’t let guys stay in long enough and work through situations and pitch deep into games. I wanted that mind-set changed.”  Just out of curiosity, did they bother to check with the players?  And in the middle of the season when the pitchers were reporting dead arms, did they think to change?

“Is it Trey Hillman’s fault (on Monday night) that we have a player walking back (to the mound) and doesn’t have his eye on the play?” Moore asked. “Is it Trey’s fault when a pitcher throws the ball into right field on a routine inning-ending double play?  I’m willing to put that blame on Hillman. Since July, it’s been obvious that our team has been loafing through games with their heads firmly implanted in their asses. It’s Hillman’s job to keep them involved—or remove them from the games. For all of Moore’s talk about how Trey will “get in their faces,” I call BS. I think he was firmly cowed after he lost the clubhouse last year, and it’s staying that way.  But the biggest nugget of all is about to come.

“Is it Trey’s fault that in giving a young Billy Butler the opportunity to play first base, that we’ve had numerous 3-6-3 opportunities for a double play—and can’t execute that?  It was at this point that I developed an overwhelming urge to bitch slap Moore until the snot ran from his nose.

This year, we have had one—count ‘em, one— player who has stepped up and noticeably improved his game. That’s Billy Butler, who had projected as a lifetime DH.  He’s turned into an acceptable first baseman. And Moore picks him to throw under the bus in the paper? What in the hell is wrong with this guy? And when, exactly, were all these missed double plays that would have made the difference in the season?  Were they on non-televised games? 

Of all the unadulterated crap that Moore has flung this year, this is by far the most arrogant, gutless, chicken-shit thing he has put in the press. Perhaps Moore isn’t just a bad general manager—maybe he’s a bad guy. Of course, we must remember that Butler was not a Moore acquisition—which likely explains both his good performance and his scapegoat status.

(Quick side thought – the Royals could raise the money for a $100 million payroll by charging fans $20 a throw to bitch slap Trey and/or Dayton. No closed fists, full swings.  I’d probably end up paying for a player myself.)

“It’s worked on every day. The bottom line is we’re not good enough yet, and again I emphasize yet. I still believe we have many players on our team who will begin to execute better. We’ve seen signs of that already.”  What signs are those, pray tell?

In short, what concerns me is not the fact that Hillman is returning.  For better or worse, Moore has hitched his horse to the Mustache. What concerns me is the incredible level of know-it-all arrogance coming from Moore. His process appears to be pretty much identical to Allard (the Genius) Baird’s Plan. And it’s working just as well.


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